Austria is often overlooked by travelers. However, the country is packed with history and culture dating all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. From the exquisite food to the unique people, here are 5 lesser known facts about the breathtaking alpine country.
1. Austria is Home to the World’s Largest Emerald
The large gem is displayed in Vienna at the Imperial Treasury of the Hofburg and is 2,860 carats.
2. Death is Big Business
The Austrian funeral industry is one, if not the largest per capita in all of Europe. In fact, Austrians are quite open about discussing their: eventual demise, burial plots, designing headstones, and other issues that need to be addressed prior to the funeral.
3. Cities Have Their Own Trademark Cakes
Cake baking goes back for centuries in Austria. Practically every city down to the smallest villages in the country would compete to produce the finest bakeries, working hard to try and outdo one another. One of the most famous concoctions is the Austrian dish Viennese Sachertorte, which was invented in 1832 by Chef Franz Sacher.
4. The Official Language is German
Over 88 percent of the Austrian population speaks German. However, other languages spoken include: Bosnian, Croatian, Hungarian, Polish, Serbian, and Turkish.
5. The Original Snow Globe Was Invented Here
Although the discovery was an accident, Erwin Perzy created the very first snow globe in 1900 while attempting to make his own light bulb. His first subject was the Basilica of Mariazell, and the snow was made out of ground rice. Today the factory still creates made to order products.